Last Sunday Travis spoke on Matthew 18. In that passage the disciples ask Jesus, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom?” I was struck by how Jesus responds. He says, “I tell you the truth, unless you CHANGE and become like little children you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” Wow, this is a strong: “I better pay attention,” statement.
In my last blog I wrote about how dangerous entitlement can be. I said that when we find ourselves grumbling and complaining about what we don’t have or about what we think we deserve we should remember to humble ourselves. Well, after writing that, I can’t tell you how many times this week I found myself grumbling about what I don’t have. This past weekend we visited our daughter at Wake Forest. On the way home, we talked about possibly stopping in Richmond for dinner. As we approached Richmond, it was becoming clear that we were not going to stop for dinner because we had a refrigerator full of leftovers and our son was home so it just made sense to eat at home. It was clearly the right choice to head home but I still wanted to go out to eat. Doug could see the disappointment on my face and kindly said that it was fine to go out if I really wanted to, which made me happy. But then he said, but if we go, let’s only order entrees and no appetizers, salads or desserts. I immediately found myself grumbling and said, “what’s the point of going out then?” I felt entitled.
Recently I did the Bible study, Gideon, by Priscilla Shirer. In one of the video sessions she was telling us how she loved to play Legos with her youngest son. She said she would sit on the floor with him and they would begin to build a tower together. But, after a few Legos were stacked he would get distracted and get up and run into the other room to see what his brother was doing. She didn’t go anywhere and just sat on the floor because she knew that he would be back in a minute. When he came back he would start building a new tower. Then, the same thing would happen. He would get distracted and run to check on his brother again, but he would come back and start building ANOTHER tower. She said she would feel frustrated because she wanted to finish the first tower they started building, but he would always want to start over. I do the same thing in my relationship with God. He teaches me something, and wants to continue to build on that foundation, but I easily become distracted and have to start over and learn the same thing again and again.
Jesus is calling me to change. He doesn’t want me to live with a constant sense of entitlement. He wants me to humbly follow Him. I find that the more time I spend with Him, the more He changes me. When I read His word, He gently reveals things to me, but He also puts me in situations where I am asked to live out what He has been teaching me. Jesus says I MUST change, that can be scary to me, but I have hope that He will change me because as I look back over my life, I can see areas where He has grown me. There have been times when I have really trusted that His ways were better than my ways, and I have taken steps of faith knowing that He would give me exactly what I needed to walk where He was calling me.
He wants to do more in all of us. He doesn’t want us to go back to our comfortable places. If we humble ourselves, listen to what He is saying and move forward in obedience to the places He is calling us to go, He WILL, gently and lovingly, change us into the people He has created us to be.